Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – October 14, 2018
Latest on the Blue Jackets and an update on William Nylander in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the Columbus Blue Jackets have a generous contract offer on the table for goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who’s slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, there’s speculation Bobrovsky could seek something comparable to Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (eight years, $84-million). Kypreos notes the New York Islanders need a starting goalie and perhaps they could be among the bidders for Bobrovsky.
Kypreos also noted winger Josh Anderson has slipped to the Blue Jackets fourth line. There’s been no trade request yet from Anderson but he’s unhappy with the situation. Kypreos claims the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens have had a previous interest in the winger.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Brian Hedger recently suggested the Florida Panthers might be a fit for Blue Jackets winger Artemi Panarin, who remains reluctant to sign a contract extension. He would be reunited with Panthers forward Evgenii Dadonov, as the pair were former teammates in Russia.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the ongoing uncertainty over the respective futures of Bobrovsky and Panarin in Columbus, the Blue Jackets aren’t expected to trade either guy as long as they remain in playoff contention. Should they tumble out of the postseason chase by February, they could entertain trade offers before the Feb. 25 trade deadline.
The Islanders have been lacking a reliable starting goaltender for years but signing Bobrovsky will be expensive. Yes, he’s the only active multiple Vezina Trophy winner, but he’s also 30 years old and doesn’t have a stellar playoff record. For now, Isles GM Lou Lamoriello will likely evaluate his current goaltending over the course of this season and consider all options before deciding if he should take a big plunge into next summer’s free-agent market.
The Panthers are frequently mentioned as a destination for Panarin but there’s no certainty he’ll land there. While he reportedly has an off-season home near Sunrise, Florida, there’s talk he could sign with one of the New York-area clubs.
Anderson isn’t a core player like Bobrovsky and Panari but he has 20-goal potential, reaching 19 tallies in 63 games last season and 17 in 78 contests the year prior. As Kypreos noted, the 24-year-old is a big-bodied (6-foot-3, 221 pounds) versatile forward who will attract interest around the league if he becomes available.
Given the concerns over the Leafs blueline, Anderson might not be a fit on an already top-heavy roster. The rebuilding Canadiens could certainly use a forward like him. Unless Anderson and his agent force the issue, however, I don’t think he’s going anywhere for now.
SPORTSNET: While William Nylander’s contract impasse with the Toronto Maple Leafs is sparking calls for the club to trade him for a defenseman, Nick Kypreos reports they still don’t intend to trade him while Nylander hasn’t requested a trade “as of yet.” He adds there’s talk of a short-term bridge deal, with the Leafs having a four-year offer on the table for “well under $20 million in total”, with an annual average value close to $4 million. The Nylander camp apparently seeks more than $5 million AAV.
Elliotte Friedman suggested the bridge contracts of Tampa Bay Lightning winger Nikita Kucherov (Three years, $4.76-million AAV) and Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Artemi Panarin (two years, $6 million AAV) are comparable to what Nylander might get.
Chris Johnston said some clubs have explored what an offer sheet for Nylander might cost them but a long-term offer could be too complicated (perhaps four first-round picks) and expensive to pull off.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Given the Leafs sizzling start, they’re in no hurry to trade Nylander. That could change if they get a mind-blowing offer but I don’t think anything like that is heading their way right now. If he’s still unsigned when the calendar flips to November, both sides could start feeling the pressure to get a deal done.
What’s interesting here is it appears the two sides may be moving away from talk of a long-term deal toward a bridge contract. It may be the only way to sort this situation out. Even so, the two sides still appear far apart. While the money gap on the bridge isn’t as wide as on the long-term deal, it’s still broad enough to remain a significant sticking point.